LABOR and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Sunday that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants the Philippines to bring home at least 280 overseas Filipino workers there, including 50 who died after contracting the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
However, Bello said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has decided not to bring back the remains of those who died of Covid-19 and have them buried in Saudi Arabia instead. The other OFW remains will be sent back to the Philippines in batches.
In an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo, Bello said that they received communication from King Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and “they gave us 72 hours to bring home our dead,” Bello said. “Bawal ang cremation that’s why ang directive ni King Salman is for us to bring them home,” the labor secretary added.
Bello said the Department of Labor and Employment and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will charter three flights for the return of the bodies.